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County Commission OKs $360K project

By By Adam Prestridge
Some homeowners on Curtis Road in Atmore will have a longer drive home beginning today.
County Engineer Bill Bridges addressed the Escambia County Commission Monday morning to explain the replacement of an aging bridge on Curtis Road commonly referred to as Digmon Bridge.
"The bridge is old and simply needs to be replaced," Bridges said. "The bridge will be closed around noon today and remain closed until completion of the project."
Newell and Bush Construction, based in Montgomery, will be handling all phases of the bridge replacement, Bridges said.
"The company has 50 working days to complete the project," Bridges said. "That time does not count weekends or rain-out days."
The total cost for the bridge replacement will come in at around $360,000 including utility work, Bridges said.
The commission also agreed to upgrade the computers at the Escambia County Courthouse so they can handle much needed space for an increased amount of data.
"We were already looking to add more disc space to our current system," said Joy Anderson, data processing manager for Escambia County. "The cost of the disc space would have cost about half of what a new system would cost."
S IBM was offering a variety of incentives, this would be a good time to upgrade to a new system instead of simply adding space, Anderson said.
"We are only a couple of years away from needing to upgrade the system anyway," Anderson said. "With all the incentives being offered, it would be cost effective to upgrade the system now."
The commission voted to accept the lone bid from Premise Inc. for the upgrade at a cost of $89,995.
In other business, the commission approved a transfer of liquor license for Cat's Grocery located on Booneville Road just outside of Atmore. The business was previously known as L and L Country Store, but has new owners and a new name, thus requiring the transfer of the license.
"The new owners have met with the ABC Board," said Tony Sanks, county clerk. "The Board has no objections to the transfer of the license."
The commission voted to approve the transfer with Commissioner Todd Williamson abstaining in the vote and Larry White casting the only opposing vote on the matter.
The commission on Monday also approved a resolution reaffirming an application to the Alabama Department of Transportation.
"The resolution is just a formality to approve a change in paperwork," Sanks said. "This is for the van we are securing for the Escambia County Department on Aging."
The van, which is a 15-passenger vehicle, will be paid for using Federal Transit Authority funds matched with 20 percent funds from Escambia County.
"We are getting the vehicle at a cost of $7,000," Sanks said. "Since we are getting funds from the FTA program, the cost to the county is a really good deal. This is allowing us to replace a 1995 model vehicle in the fleet."
Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith addressed the commission to discuss a hurricane mitigation grant that has been awarded to the department by ADECA.
"The $100,000 grant will require a match from the county at a rate of 11 percent," Smith said. "We have lots of places to put the money when we do get the grant."
Smith said that one of the main uses for the funds would be to increase the storage capacity for the county's gas tanks. Generators for the department are also high on the list of priorities for use of the funds.
"We would like to see a generator purchased for the work release facility," Smith said. "That site needs to be self-sustaining in the event of a hurricane."
An upgrade to the generator system at the Escambia County Detention Center is also on the sheriff's wish list.
"If we could upgrade the generator system at the jail it would be great," Smith said. "We would certainly like to be able to power more than just emergency lighting and work on the lighting in the exercise yard."